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Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) for COVID-19 in Queensland

You can use a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) to check if you are likely to have COVID-19. Rapid antigen tests can be completed by you at home and should give a result within 15-30 minutes.

RAT results are accepted as a negative COVID-19 test result for the purposes of entering Queensland.

When to use a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT)

You must get a RAT if you:

You should get a RAT if:

  • you are not close contact but have been around someone with COVID-19 and want to check if you now have COVID-19
  • recommended by your GP or healthcare worker
  • required by your employer
  • you want to quickly check if you have COVID-19 (e.g. before visiting someone).

When to get a PCR test

You should only get a PCR test if you:

  • have COVID-19 symptoms and cannot get a RAT
  • are a close contact and cannot get a RAT
  • need a COVID-19 test to leave home quarantine and you cannot get a RAT.

Do I need RAT or PCR testing

Answer the following questions to determine if you need a PCR test or if you can use a RAT kit.

Question Id Question TestResponseNext
Q1

Do you have any COVID-19 symptoms?

Yes Q4CASE
   No Q2
Q2

Are you a close contact of someone with COVID-19?

Yes Q4CASE
   No Q3
Q3

Are you currently in home quarantine and have been asked to take a test before you leave quarantine (e.g. as an overseas traveller)?

Yes Q4RAT
   No OutcomeNone
Q4CASE

Have you been released from isolation (as someone who had COVID-19) in the last 4 weeks?

YesOutcomeClearedCase
  NoQ4RAT
Q4RAT

You can take a rapid antigen test (RAT)

Currently, a limited supply of RAT kits are available at a limited number of Queensland Health testing clinics for eligible people.

You can also buy RAT kits in retail shops and chemists. RAT kits are currently in low supply due to the sudden high demand but are expected to become more readily available in the next few weeks.

Find out more about the RAT kits that will be available for people with concession cards.

Do you have a rapid antigen test (RAT)?

Yes Q5RAT
   No OutcomePCR
Q5RAT

What's the result of your rapid antigen test (RAT)?

PositiveOutcomeRATPositive
  NegativeOutcomeRATNegative
  InconclusiveOutcomeRATInconclusive

You can take a Rapid antigen test (RAT)

Currently, a limited supply of RAT kits are available at a limited number of Queensland Health testing clinics for eligible people.

You can also buy RAT kits in retail shops and chemists. RAT kits are currently in low supply due to the sudden high demand but are expected to become more readily available in the next few weeks.

Find out more about the RAT kits that will be available for people with concession cards.


You do not need a COVID-19 test (PCR or RAT)

You only need a test (rapid antigen or PCR) if you:

In the meantime, see how you can Get COVID-Ready.


Positive Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) result and next steps

If your RAT returns a positive result:

Note:

  • You do not need a PCR test to confirm a positive RAT result.
  • Most people will have minor, particularly if you are vaccinated and otherwise healthy.
  • See the first steps if you have COVID-19.


Negative Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) result and next steps

If your RAT returns a negative result, it is likely you do not have COVID-19. Continue to monitor your health and get tested again if you develop any COVID-19 symptoms.

In the meantime Get COVID-Ready.


Inconclusive Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) result and next steps

If the result is inconclusive, repeat the test on a new kit.


Get a PCR test if you cannot get a rapid antigen test (RAT)

You should get a PCR test at a testing centre if you:

  • have COVID-19 symptoms and cannot get a RAT
  • are a close contact and cannot get a RAT
  • need a COVID-19 test to leave home quarantine and you cannot get a RAT.

If your PCR test is positive, immediately isolate and follow the first steps if you have COVID-19.

Note: You do not need to notify Queensland Health of a positive PCR test. The testing clinic will do that for you.


You had COVID-19 and were released from isolation in the last 4 weeks

If you have had COVID-19 you do not need to get tested for COVID-19 in the first 4 weeks after your release from isolation.

If 4 weeks have passed since your release of isolation, you must get tested as you would have done before you had COVID:

  • if you have COVID-19 symptoms, or
  • if you are a close contact. After 4 weeks from your release of isolation, you must follow the close contact testing and quarantine requirements if you are identified as a close contact (ie someone in your household has COVID-19)

You must follow the isolation requirements if you get tested, after 4 weeks have passed since you where released from isolation, and your result determines that you have COVID-19.

Getting Rapid Antigen Test kits

Currently, a limited supply of RAT kits are available at a limited number of Queensland Health testing clinics for people who are eligible for a free RAT kit.

You can also buy RAT kits in retail shops and chemists. RAT kits are currently in low supply due to the sudden high demand but are expected to become more readily available in the next few weeks.

RAT kits for concession card holders

The Federal Government announced on 6 January that concession card holders will be able to access up to 10 free RAT kits over the course of three months, at a maximum of five in a single month.

The tests will be free for people who hold a:

  • Pension concession card
  • Commonwealth seniors healthcare card
  • DVA gold, white or orange card
  • Health care card
  • Low income card

Once available, concession card holders will be able to get these free tests at pharmacies.

Rapid Antigen Tests for children

Some types of Rapid Antigen Test kits can be used to test children, but not all are suitable for young children and babies. Adults should always do tests for children or supervise children who are doing a test. Read the instructions that come with the kit before using the test on the child or baby.

Rapid Antigen Test results and next steps

Positive RAT result

If your RAT returns a positive result:

Note:

  • You do not need a PCR test to confirm a positive RAT result.
  • Most people will have minor, particularly if you are vaccinated and otherwise healthy.
  • See the first steps if you have COVID-19.

Most people will have minor symptoms just as you would for many other mild viruses, particularly if you are vaccinated and otherwise healthy. The majority of people will be able to manage their symptoms at home while isolating. It is possible to have mild symptoms at the start of your illness, but become sicker over time.

You should seek medical advice if you:

  • are not improving after 2 or 3 days
  • have a chronic health condition
  • are pregnant.

You should only go to hospital or call Triple Zero (000) if you have severe symptoms like:

  • difficulty breathing even when walking around the house
  • coughing up blood
  • significant chest pain
  • collapse or fainting.

If you need to call Triple Zero (000), ask for an ambulance. If you can, explain to the operator that you have COVID-19.

If you have a speech and/or hearing impairment and use telecommunication devices for the deaf, contact the Text Emergency Relay Service on 106.

Read more about symptoms, medical care and how to look after yourself at home.

Negative RAT result

If your RAT returns a negative result, it is likely you do not have COVID-19. Continue to monitor your health and get tested again if you develop any COVID-19 symptoms.

In the meantime Get COVID-Ready.

Inconclusive RAT result

If the result is inconclusive, repeat the test on a new kit.

More information

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